Rams dominate Scottsboro to advance to 5A state championship
Published 11:52 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023
The Valley Rams dominated the Scottsboro Wildcats 70-51 Wednesday to advance to the AHSAA 5A state championship.
Junior Cam Dooley led the Rams with 22 points, and head coach Marson Harper is thrilled to make history with his team.
“Hats off to Scottsboro,” Harper said.
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“We’re 32-0. The kids bought in. The seniors have been leading. I’m proud of my guys. One more win, and we can be perfect. We go quarter by quarter. We have four quarters left. It’s all we need.”
Senior Jamarious Martin is excited to be playing for a state championship.
“It’s exciting that we get to come up here to Birmingham and put on for our city,” Martin said.
The first quarter opened up with a Scottsboro turnover that led to a Denali Dooley putback to give the Rams an early lead.
Cam Dooley got a steal on the other end, but Valley couldn’t convert on the next possession.
The Rams got a defensive rebound, but Cam Dooley committed an offensive foul on the other end.
Scottsboro answered with a three from Seth Whitmire, but Jay Harper immediately got his own three to give the Rams a 5-3 lead with five minutes left in the first.
Harper heated up with yet another three to give Valley much needed momentum.
After forcing a turnover, Valley came back with a three from Cam Dooley to take an 11-3 lead.
Scottsboro was ice cold in the first quarter, and Denali Dooley scored a layup to increase the lead even further.
After yet another defensive stop, the Rams forced a Wildcat timeout after a Jamarious Martin layup to increase the lead to 15-3.
The score remained there at the end of the first quarter as the Wildcats struggled to 1-of-12 shooting.
Valley opened the second quarter with a jumper from Ian Crim-Davis, and the Rams continued to lock down on defense.
Scottsboro briefly stopped the bleeding with a three from Tyson Sexton, and it forced Valley to take a timeout with 6:20 left in the first half.
The Wildcats couldn’t build momentum, and Jamarious Martin responded with a three to make it a 20-5 lead.
Scottsboro answered with a Whitmire basket, but Valley still held a 12 point lead with four minutes to go in the half.
The Wildcats started to build momentum after a Whitmire layup, but Denali Dooley bullied his way into the paint for a layup.
Crim-Davis came off the bench and scored his own three with 2:24 left in the half to stop any Scottsboro momentum.
The Wildcats answered with a Sexton layup, and they capitalized with a Whitmire layup on the next possession.
Denali Dooley drew a foul with 48 seconds left and drained both free throws to extend the lead to 27-14.
Sexton answered with a key three to cut the Valley lead to 10 with 30 seconds left.
The Rams ended the second half on a bit of a cold streak, missing their last seven shots of the half.
Denali Dooley led the Rams at halftime with eight points, but the difference was rebounding where Valley had 26 compared to Scottsboro’s 13.
Denali added seven rebounds as well.
The Wildcats also ended the half making five of their final six baskets.
While the two teams had a combined six fouls, both teams only had two free throw attempts total.
The third quarter opened up with a three from Scottsboro’s Lawson Wright, but Cam Dooley came back and made a free throw to extend the lead to 28-20.
Dooley drew another foul and made both free throws to make it a 10 point lead with under seven minutes left in the quarter.
Scottsboro responded with a Sexton jumper, and Cam Dooley missed the ensuing basket.
Sexton hit a three on the next possession, and it forced the Rams to take a timeout with just under six minutes left in the third.
The Wildcats got all the momentum with yet another Sexton jumper to cut the Valley lead to three.
Sexton couldn’t be stopped as he hit another jumper for his ninth straight point to cut the Valley lead to 30-29.
Denali Dooley got the Rams back on the board with a short range jumper, but Parker Bell got a layup on the other end.
After a Valley offensive foul, Bell hit a jumper to give Scottsboro a 33-32 lead.
Valley responded with a 14-0 run to retake complete control.
Brandon Thomas hit with a layup to retake the lead for the Rams, and Martin made a three to extend Valley’s lead to four with two and a half minutes left in the quarter.
Cam Dooley came back with a three of his own to give the Rams a 40-33 lead with two minutes left in the third.
Dooley hit another three to extend the lead to 10 and force the Wildcats to take a timeout.
Dooley hit his third straight three to give Valley a 46-33 lead with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
The Rams took that lead into the fourth quarter, and Cam led Valley with 15 points.
Scottsboro opened the fourth with a free basket thanks to a Brandon Thomas goaltending.
Martin responded with a layup to give Valley a 48-35 lead with six minutes to go, but Bell responded with a layup and a drawn foul, and Bell made the free throw.
Crim-Davis drew a foul on the other end and made both free throws to give the Rams a 50-38 lead with five and a half minutes to go.
Denali Dooley drew a foul and hit one of his free throws to extend the lead to 13.
Scottsboro answered with a Sexton layup and one to cut the lead to 51-41 with 5:16 left in the game.
Thomas scored a layup on the other end to keep the lead extended, but Whitmire hit a three to cut the lead back to nine.
The Wildcats fully engaged their full court press, but Crim-Davis drew a foul in transition and hit both of his free throws to extend the lead to 11 with four and a half minutes left.
Cam Dooley drew Scottsboro’s tenth foul and made one of his free throws to give the Rams a 56-44 lead with four minutes left.
The Wildcats responded with a basket from Ethan Roberts, but the Rams drew another foul on the ensuing possession.
Martin hit both of his free throws, and Valley forced a turnover on the next possession.
Valley tried to hold the ball with three and a half minutes left, but Thomas drew a foul and hit both free throws to extend the lead to 14 with three minutes left.
Martin drew a foul and hit both free throws to make it a 62-46 game.
Cam Dooley broke through the full court press and made a layup to give the Rams a 16 point lead with two and a half minutes left.
Valley will play Charles Henderson on Saturday, and Harper knows how much a win would mean to the entire town.
“We want to complete this thing,” Harper said.
“I graduated from Valley High. I bleed blue and orange. For us to win a state title means the world to me. We have to win.”